After a life full of adventure and surrounded by her devoted family, Phyllis L. Molnar passed away of natural causes on August 25, 2019.
Her story begins in Bangor, Maine on June 15, 1934. She was the third of four daughters born to Paul & Mary Miller. She spent her youth on her grandparent’s farm in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. She was a beloved Aunt to her niece Sally and nephews Paul and Donald. Their memories of Aunt Phyllis reflect a young woman with an adventurous spirit. Little did she know that in the mid-1950s that adventurous spirit would shift into high gear.
A flat tire on a rural road near Dover-Foxcroft lead a young Airman to stop and offer help. The Airman was Steve Molnar. He and Phyllis married on Dec. 31, 1956 and so began their lifelong partnership and love story that lasted 62 years. The love story, however, will never end.
Her adventure as an Air Force wife began in Maine and over the years found her covering thousands of miles both foreign and domestic. She and her family lived in Tripoli, Libya in North Africa; Finley, North Dakota; Great Falls, Montana; Minot, North Dakota; Adana, Turkey, and finally (almost) Alamogordo, New Mexico. Regardless the address, Phyllis made every house a home.
During these years, she was active in the many churches they attended and supported her children in their many activities and interests. After she retired as office manager of a moving company in Alamogordo, she and Steve made their home in Amarillo to be close to their youngest daughter and her family. Phyllis enjoyed classical music and often had the beautiful music playing in her home throughout the day. She enjoyed attending performances of the Amarillo Symphony and was a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church where she was active in the Prayer Shawl Ministry.
Retirement for Phyllis and Steve did not mean the end of adventure. The traveling duo enjoyed roaming the countryside in their RV visiting old friends and making new ones. She loved the trips to her home state of Maine. Phyllis always traveled with knitting and crochet supplies to pass the miles creating beautiful pieces that she lovingly shared.
She enjoyed a challenge, whether it be making a complicated recipe, figuring out a detailed crochet pattern, mastering the game of Mahjong or working a crossword puzzle with her husband over the course of a day. She loved playing card games and board games and was a fierce competitor.
She made holidays magical for her family. Her apple pies are legendary. She loved having her children and grandchildren together. She was devoted to her faith and her family. With her arms spread wide she rejoiced with her family over successes, joys and accomplishments. Those loving arms also consoled the heartbreaks, disappointments and loss. She was blessed with friendships that endured time and distance.
She is survived by her beloved and devoted husband Steve, son Mark and wife Sue of Richmond, Virginia; daughter Stephanie Smith and husband Ronnie of Arlington, Texas; and daughter Mary Ann Ellis and husband Mike of Amarillo. Phyllis had special relationships with each of the ‘out-laws’ who joined the family when her children married. They are proud to call her ‘mother-in-law.’
To see Phyllis with her grandchildren was pure joy. She was playful, youthful and fun loving and mischievous. Mourning her are grandchildren Ryan Molnar of Richmond, Virginia; Jordan Molnar of Evanston, Illinois; Charlie Smith of Arlington, and Casey Ellis of Austin, Texas.
She also leaves behind her sister Mary “Skipper” Gillentine of Millington, Tennessee; niece Sally Corbin of Farmington, Maine; and nephews Paul Lyford of Carrollton, Texas; and Dr. Donald Edgerly of Millington.
Her parents and sisters Betty Lyford and Joan Miller preceded her in death.
The family is without words to thank the staff at Brookdale Sleepy Hollow for the loving care of their mother and grandmother. The unending support and love shown by Shelly Gilbreth and Pam Heller at that facility is also impossible to measure. Thank you all.
In 2012, the Amarillo ISD honored Phyllis and Steve as Adult Volunteers of the Year for the countless hours spent working in the library at Windsor Elementary where their granddaughter attended. This involvement provided an opportunity for them to spend time in a vibrant environment in service to others.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials in her name to the Windsor Elementary PTA, 6700 Hyde Parkway, Amarillo TX, 79109.